Heart of Health Policy | ACC Grassroots Advocacy Roundup

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In 2018, ACC Chapters ramped up collaboration with the College’s Advocacy staff on a wide variety of grassroots advocacy efforts at the state level, fostering many legislative and regulatory successes for clinicians, practices and patients.

The following is a sample of these successes highlighting state advocacy accomplishments in several of the College’s key focus areas.

Prior Authorization and Administrative Burden

Mandated, payer-directed prior authorization for diagnostic imaging and medications is a substantial barrier to patient access in today’s cardiovascular practice landscape.

This year, ACC’s Indiana Chapter, with the support of the Indiana State Medical Society and other stakeholders, enacted a bill with provisions addressing the electronic transmission of prior authorization requests and responses. Read More >>>

ACC’s Florida Chapter testified before the state’s Health Innovation Subcommittee to advocate for legislation addressing onerous prior authorization and step therapy requirements.

ACC’s Washington Chapter authored legislation imposing various standards and criteria for health carriers requiring prior authorization; the legislation was signed by the governor and made effective as of June 7.

The Washington Chapter also authored and found sponsorship for legislation requiring health carriers to follow appropriate use criteria and plans to advocate for the bill during the 2019 legislative session.

The College is committed to reducing administrative burden by driving prior authorization reform and removing barriers to quality patient care. Visit ACC.org/PriorAuthorization to learn more.

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Tobacco Control

Adolescent tobacco use has been a hot topic in state legislatures across the country and will remain a pressing issue in 2019 legislative sessions. In 2018, Massachusetts passed Tobacco 21 legislation, becoming the sixth U.S. state to raise the minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21.

Additionally, ACC’s Kentucky Chapter played an active role in efforts to increase the state’s tobacco tax, participating in lobby days, sending letters and employing an innovative Twitter campaign to leverage legislative support. The KY legislature ultimately settled on a 50-cent increase, bringing the total tax to a $1.10 per pack.

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After facing roadblocks with attempts to implement Tobacco 21 legislation at the state level, ACC’s Vermont Chapter had a hand in the successful addition of a pro-Tobacco 21 statement to a Burlington ballot, calling on legislators to support Tobacco 21.

The College’s Washington, New Hampshire and Indiana Chapters also continued Tobacco 21 efforts by sending support letters and directly promoting Tobacco 21 legislation at their chapter lobby days.

The College is committed to supporting legislation to reduce preventable death associated with nicotine addiction. Visit ACC.org/Tobacco21 for resources to promote or introduce Tobacco 21 efforts in your state.

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Engaging with ACC Advocacy Staff

This year in grassroots advocacy kicked off with the January release of the College’s new Advocacy Action Alert system – making it easier than ever for ACC members to share their opinions with legislators and decision makers.

With just a few easy clicks, ACC members can contact their legislators via email, phone or Twitter to share their support or opposition to policies impacting cardiology and patient care. ACC members have collectively sent more than 475 letters to their elected state officials through this tool in 2018, delivering expert information on issues ranging from medical malpractice to CPR in schools. Read More >>>

ACC Advocacy staff also work to build the College’s relationships with state legislative and regulatory bodies through lobby days and practice visits. Legislator practice visits serve as an opportunity for government officials to witness firsthand how the cardiovascular team provides patients with quality, cost-efficient care.

Lobby days allow ACC members to meet directly with their state legislative decisionmakers to discuss the real-life implications that specific policies, or lack thereof, have on their practices and patients. Such in-person meetings allow for the development of strong personal relationships and show state and federal government officials the dedication and compassion that the cardiac care team devotes to their patients daily, and how their legislative decisions can impact that care.

To date in 2018, ACC Advocacy staff have helped orchestrate 23 practice visits and meetings between ACC members and their state legislators. Eight ACC Chapters have participated in a lobby day, including an inaugural lobby day for ACC’s Washington Chapter. Email AdvocacyLeg@ACC.org to organize a lobby day in your state’s capital or a practice visit for your state representatives.

The state advocacy action continues as more than 400 ACC members gather at ACC’s 2018 Legislative Conference, taking place Sept. 30-Oct. 2, to develop the tools they need to impact health care policy in their regions. Follow the advocacy action live on Twitter @Cardiology and through #LegConf. For more on the College’s advocacy actions and priorities, visit ACC.org/Advocacy.

Visit ACC.org/AdvocacyAction to share your support or opposition for policies impacting cardiovascular care legislation at the state and federal level through ACC’s Advocacy Action Alert system.

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Additional State Legislative Highlights

  • ACC’s California Chapter played a strong role in defeating legislation that would have established a health care cost commission with the power to set rates for insurance plans, physicians and hospitals. The Chapter also defeated a bill that would have encouraged unsafe pharmacy practices.
  • Medicaid expansion covering an additional 400,000 low-income patients passed in Virginia with the strong support of ACC’s Virginia Chapter and ACC President C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC.
  • ACC’s Maryland Chapter was instrumental in the defeat of a bill that would have repealed expert witness limitations in medical malpractice cases.
  • Following years of vigorous advocacy work by ACC’s Idaho Chapter, the state passed a rule requiring pulse oximetry screening within 24 hours for newborns.

Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine, Tobacco, Medicaid, Pharmaceutical Services, Tobacco Use, Health Care Costs, Diagnostic Imaging

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